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Cultivating Communities of Practice: A Guide to Managing Knowledge by William Snyder, Richard A. McDermott, Etienne Wenger

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CHAPTER six

The Challenge of Distributed Communities

WHEN A GEOLOGIST IN SHELL’S EXPLORATION and Production International Ventures (SEPIV) group learned how the Turbodudes informally share cutting-edge ideas and insights, he realized that there would be tremendous value in establishing the same kind of group globally. Of course, there would be daunting obstacles—how to maintain informality and build trust across time zones and distance; how to share ideas across different organizational units; and how to honor different national and organizational cultures. He knew this would not succeed if it was seen as a “U.S. initiative.” But SEPIV management also thought the idea was worth pursuing and formed a small crossfunctional team to identify, design, ...

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